I had just finished my “Princeton Charlie” routine at one of our pep rallies, most likely in the fall of 1950, and turned to go out through the back of Blair Arch. A man standing there stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Ed Sullivan.” I recognized him right away; you could have knocked me over with a feather. He was very complimentary and invited me to appear on his show with the Princeton Triangle Club. He was in Princeton to scope out the show and asked if I would introduce it with a few words. I was not in the Triangle cast, but I agreed.
I appeared on his show dressed just as I was in our picture, above. I don’t remember much of what I said except my opening line. At the time, President Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, was trying to make it as a singer. She had given a concert and received a bad review by some music critic. Truman was furious and wrote a strong letter to the critic. As you might imagine, his letter received more publicity than the critic’s review.
So for my opening on The Ed Sullivan Show, I said, “If there are any music critics in the audience, they’d better be nice because my father can write nasty letters, too.” That got a pretty good laugh. The performance by the Triangle cast was well received.
Ed Sullivan was kind to me, offering to help me along the way if I was interested in a career in show business.
Editor’s note: Maurice “Pinky” Cohill is the fur-coated Princeton Charlie in the photo above (That Was Then, April 22).